Nigeria’s Minister of Finance has refuted claims that the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is leaving behind a backlog of debt to the tune of $63 billion.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at a forum organised by finance correspondents in Abuja, the nation’s capital, noted that the explained that the amount was the total debt profile the nation owed between 1960 to date.
While noting that President Jonathan’s administration has the lowest debt profile in the nation’s history, she added that borrowed funds were used to stimulate growth in critical sectors which include the rail, agriculture and power sectors.
The APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, had lamented during a retreat organised for newly elected senators of the APC, that it would take over 228 years to repay Nigeria’s debt, which they said was accumulated by the outgoing administration.
But Dr. Okonjo-Iweala pointed out that the outgoing administration has done measurably well in maintaining low inflation rate, building road networks and improving agricultural productivity, among other accomplishments.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Audu Ogeh, has urged the senators-elect in the APC not to condone acts of corruption, but to assist the incoming administration in blocking leakages in the system.
Mr. Ogbeh who spoke at a retreat organised for newly elected senators of the APC, advised them to ensure that their relationship with the executive is not to the detriment of the masses who bear the brunt of bad leadership.
The party’s National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, lamented that it would take over 228 years to repay the debt, which they said was accumulated by the outgoing administration.
The expectations from the incoming administration are high and its legislators are not left out in this. Probably, this informed the meeting among the leadership of the APC.
In what seems like moral reawakening, the leadership is seeking the cooperation of the senators-elect in dealing with acts of impunity said to have eaten deep into the system.
It’s less than a week to the inauguration of the incoming administration and with the clamour for change in all sectors, it remains to be seen if the legislators would make good their promise and hit the ground running in the days ahead.
The Oyo State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Chinese firm, to construct a light rail transport system covering about 30 kilometres within Ibadan, the state capital.
At the signing ceremony which took place at the Governor’s office, Governor Abiola Ajimobi disclosed that his transformation agenda requires extensive modernisation of major cities in the state.
The governor explained that in modern development, the light rail system is long overdue for Oyo State, with a population of over 10 million people, stating that any city with a population of at least 2 million requires a light rail system of transportation.
The leader of the Chinese delegation, Mr Li Binj, disclosed in an interview with journalists that they did not just come to Oyo State with cutting edge technology, but also the desire to transfer such to local people who would be engaged in the project.
Mr. Binj, who signed the MoU with the Oyo state government, said that the project would give employment to thousands of residents, besides the transfer of technology to those that would be involved in the project.
Governor Ajimobi noted that the state is moving up a notch with the provision of the light rail system to ease traffic congestion and reduce the cost of transportation for individuals as well as small and large scale businesses within Ibadan.
The light rail project is billed to commence and become operational before the end of the second term of Governor Ajimobi.
Nigerian universities are on the path to recovery and re-positioning, despite the low ratings from international rating agencies.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole, made this clarification while reacting to the latest ranking of top 50 African Universities, which put U.I as 3rd in Nigeria and 34th in Africa.
He pointed out that the prerequisites for the ratings are numerous among which webometric assessment, academic excellence and research publications are germane.
Professor Adewole added that Nigerian universities had not done badly, considering the time it took for government to seriously commit to uplifting the standard of education in the country.
In the same vein, the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), U.I branch, Professor Segun Ajiboye, said webometric ranking is political, almost controversial in most cases.
Professor Ajiboye said that several obstacles still exist on the path to greatness for Nigerian universities.
According to some students interviewed by Channels Tv, lack of timely update of research findings and the method of impacting knowledge are critical factors in the rating.
The persistent fuel scarcity in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, South-west Nigeria has continued to take its toll on the residents.
Channels TV crew who visited several petrol stations in Abeokuta, gathered that about 95% of the filling stations in the metropolis had no supply of fuel, adding that there were long queues where the product was said to be available.
There were unconfirmed claims of the commodity being hoarded by some marketers and exploitation of residents who have to buy the commodity at exorbitant rates, far above the official pump price, as a result of this ugly development.
However, there were fewer vehicles on the road with many residents stranded at bus stops across the state capital, leaving the people desperate and frustrated.
They are also demanding explanations from relevant authorities concerned, as their means of living depend on this essential commodity.
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, says his major commitment after leaving office on May the 29th will be to engage religious and ethnic leaders across the country on the need to uphold peace.
He said he took the decision because of his strong belief that Nigerians can only practice their different religions in an atmosphere of peace.
The President said this on Friday, after he was presented with the 2015 Epitome of Peace Award by the Field Superintendent of the Apostolic Church Nigeria, Federal Capital Territory Field, Apostle John Buzu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Jonathan expressed gratitude for the award, which was in recognition of the step he took after the March 28 presidential election, saying it would spur him to do more for the country.
He expressed the hope that people would be ready to join him in the crusade.
Ogun State members of the 8th legislature at both state and national levels have pledged their commitment towards effective legislation to give better and new direction to governance in the state.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Suraj Adekunbi, made the promise on behalf of both returning members and members-elect, in response to the advice contained in papers presented at a seminar held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital in South-West Nigeria.
He promised that the lawmakers would provide the much needed leadership and legislation as well as better representation for the good of all.
The seminar was organised for returning and newly elected members of the Ogun State House of Assembly and members of the National Assembly of Ogun State extraction, having secured victories at the polls.
The 26 members of the 8th legislature of the Ogun Assembly and those of the National Assembly were groomed at the seminar with the requisite knowledge in the act of legislature with emphasis on the need to work as a team towards one goal – the progress and the development of Nigeria and Ogun State in particular.
There were lectures on the law making process, legislature and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria with the call on the third arm of government to legislate for good governance and provide effective checks and balances.
Different speakers also challenged them on the fight against corruption and the need to address the cost of running government.
The Imo State Governor has urged all political office holders elected or appointed to show the spirit of sacrifice and cut down on the cost of governance, due to the dwindling economic situation that is presently affecting the nation.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, on Friday, at the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, the Imo State capital, told reporters that “Nigeria is in one of its worst periods in the economic history of the nation”.
He cautioned that all political office holders must sacrifice a lot of their luxury for the good of the masses.
The Governor also reminded reporters that May 29 is fast approaching, when the All Progressives Congress (APC) would take over government with high expectations.
He further assured Nigerians that the APC Government, led by General Mohammodu Buhari, would not fail its people, pledging that the administration would do its best to tackle corruption and deliver the well-deserved dividends of democracy.
Governor Okorocha, however, reiterated that his vision of providing job opportunities for the youths was still utmost in his heart in the next four years of his administration in Imo State.
He also vowed that his government would hit the ground running, after the May 29 inauguration.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has rescheduled the hearing of the case between the National Assembly and the Presidency on constitution amendment to Monday, May 25.
The rescheduling of the hearing date was done to ensure the resolution of the face-off between the National Assembly and President Goodluck Jonathan over the dispute on the legality of the Fourth Alteration Bill for the amendment of the constitution which the President had refused to sign into law.
The apex court had earlier adjourned the suit between the two parties to June 19, when the current National Assembly would have ceased to exit.
The National Assembly through its lawyer, Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, had appealed to the Supreme Court to have the case re-listed for hearing before the expiration of the tenure of the current National Assembly.
A copy of the new hearing notice, which was obtained by Channels Television reads: “Take notice that the above motion will be listed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria sitting in Abuja on Monday, 25th day of May 2015”.
The National Assembly is asking the apex court to discharge the interlocutory orders of injunction made on May 7, which barred the lawmakers from overriding the President’s veto.
In the application, they are also asking the court to dismiss the originating summons filed by the Attorney General of the Federation, Barrister Mohammed Adoke, on the grounds that: “the originating summons dated April 22 is incompetent, fundamentally and incurably defective and thereby robs the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction”.
They also argued that “there is no known or reasonable cause of action disclosed in the originating summons to ground jurisdiction of the Supreme Court”. They claimed that it was improper and a reckless invocation of the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
They also insisted that the Attorney General was not competent to invoke the original jurisdiction of the apex Court under the Supreme Court Act.
Mr Lalong spoke in Jos the Plateau State capital, when a delegation of Tarok natives, under the umbrella body of Ngwan Ishi Otarok, led by prominent retired Military Generals from Langtang visited him.
The Governor-elect said he would consult them on how to tackle the spate of clashes, especially between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
Meanwhile, the pains and memories of the attack would take a while to be forgotten in Ropp district of Barkinladi Local Government Area of the state, where at least 20 persons where killed in six villages.
The district Head of Barkin Ladi, Edward Bot, said the village was attacked by the assailants in the early hours of Tuesday, with gunshots which lasted for several hours.
Mr Lalong, however, expressed belief that if previous administrations in the state had taken full advantage of the many retired top security chiefs in the state, it would not have suffered the kind of crisis it had gone through over the past decades.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stepped up its aid in the Lake Chad region, where at least a million people have been forced out of their homes by the Boko Haram insurgency.
ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, revealed that the Red Cross programmes in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, the countries adjoining the Lake Chad, would be expanded.
He was quoted on Reuters as saying that “whole communities have fled their villages and endured unimaginable suffering … even if the fighting stopped tomorrow, it will take years of investment and painstaking work to rebuild livelihoods and services”.
“The combined volume of those activities in Lake Chad are today 110 million Swiss francs ($118 million), which makes this region the third most important humanitarian activity of the ICRC worldwide. Just after Syria and South Sudan,” Mr Maurer said.
The six-year insurgency, waged by Boko Haram to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north-east, has displaced around 1.5 million people.
The Nigeria Police is yet to comply with the Federal High Court order, contained in an interim injunction granted in favour of the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly and, the 15 members of the House.
The court had on May 11, ordered the Nigerian Police to vacate Enugu State House of Assembly Complex and the order subsists, pending the determination of the suit brought by State Assembly Speaker, Eugene Odoh, on behalf of 15 members of the house.
The order also allowed the Speaker and the other 15 lawmakers to have access to the legislative complex, particularly the chambers.
The presiding Judge, Justice Dorcas Agishi, said since the matter was for mention, the parties should take a date for hearing, but Mr Okibe informed the court that it was a case of Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights, adding that they needed a short date for expediency of motion.
Justice Agishi then adjourned the matter to May 26 and ordered that hearing notices be served on all respondents.
Mr Okibe then noted in an interview that since the respondents have failed to bring any representation or respond to the suit, should they fail to report on May 26 as adjourned, the judge would have no choice but enter into judgment which would be delivered in their favour.
However, the police were still stationed with their vehicles at the House of Assembly Complex at Independence Layout.
Efforts to speak with the Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ebere Amaraizu, to provide reasons for their continued stay in spite of the court order was fruitless.